Local entrepreneur relying on apps to draw in business

Cory Nelson is always coming up with new and innovative ways to run a business. His latest venture: the Cloud Food Hall in downtown Albany.

“If the industry is changing, you have to change with it,” Nelson said. “And that’s been the biggest lesson and the biggest challenge at the same time.”

Everything is done on an app: ordering food, paying for it and selecting a pick-up time. It’s been open for nearly a year on Columbia Street.

Nelson says this concept has helped avoid the labor shortage in recent months.

“We’ve been able to pivot around that, and the technology has taken most of the brunt of that, and we’ve been able to retain our staff and keep everybody happy,” Nelson said.

Originally from Brooklyn and a Howard University graduate, Nelson came to the area several years ago. He opened the Troy Kitchen five years ago before venturing into this business.

“I’m trying to build something where when people walk in, they feel great about it,” Nelson said. “They feel great about the product. They feel great about the service and just the overall experience.”

While he continues to work on growing the Cloud Food Hall concept, Nelson already has another idea that he is pursuing: a cloud mini-mart. He is envisioning small cashier-less convenience stores that he’s hoping to open across the region, starting in Albany.

“We’ve been able to push through and find components of the business that has really helped us, and we’re going to keep pushing forward with that,” Nelson said.

He says technology has been a saving grace in the last year, which is why he’s leaning into that.